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How the pandemic affected the role of women in companies

Did you know that women were the most penalized in the work market during the pandemic? Discover the factors that contributed to this.

The role of woman in companies it is a subject that has been gaining more and more importance as the generations evolve. However, inequalities between women and men in the labor market have worsened during the pandemic.

And according to the summary of the International Labor Organization (ILO), these inequalities will persist in the near future.

The synthesis shows that women have actually suffered abrupt and disproportionate losses of employment and income due to the role they play in the sectors hardest hit – such as food services, the manufacturing sector or tourism.

To give you an idea, between 2019 and 2020 in global terms, female employment fell by 4.2%, while male employment declined by only 3%.

Did you know that Portugal is the fifth country in the European Union with the greatest impact of the pandemic on the job market? And that women were the most penalized? Stay with us and know everything.

How the pandemic affected women in companies

There is no doubt that the Portuguese labor market needs to become more inclusive. And with regard to the role of women in companies, it is possible to perceive that were the most penalized for performing risky roles or for having responsibilities to care for others.

In fact, all the effort that had been made, both by women in the fight for their rights, and by companies, was put at risk by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Adecco Group report, carried out in 2021 and entitled “Resetting Normal: Defining the new era of work”, concluded that women and men experienced the pandemic differently.

Furthermore, it was precisely women who felt the consequences the most:

  • More women feeling that their mental well-being has declined (34% versus 29%);
  • The percentage of women feeling in burnout also increased (39% versus 36%);
  • And more women wanting to return to the office (46% versus 38%).

Another important factor that also contributed to women being more penalized in the labor market was the fact that in several societies, they are still the ones who support the burden of work at home, as well as family care.

work team success

Gender inequality in parental responsibilities

As we know, the pandemic caused schools to close for a long time and younger children needed to stay at home accompanied by a parent.

And even when they reopened, with the increase in contagions, several children were forced to stay at home and perform isolation time and time again.

Now, somewhat similar to what happens in other countries, also in Portugal it is women who accumulate the hard work in caring for minors.

And our country stands out precisely among a group of 25 analyzed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Because it is the one where the distribution of parental responsibilities is most disproportionate.

Exceptional family support also harmed women at an early stage

If you have been in this situation, you probably know that the experiment carried out by Social Security with the aim of reducing the loss of earnings among parents forced to stay at home with their children did not go as planned.

In most cases and at an early stage when exceptional family support was created, was used in 2020 for about 81% of working women. A very significant number that makes us all reflect on the situation.

However, in 2021 the measure was extended to include teleworking professionals – thus rewarding the division of parental responsibilities.

But the truth is that until this measure was extended, it was women who gave up working in companies to be able to guarantee all the care for their children during the pandemic.

And as you would expect, most of them felt exhausted, unmotivated and even anxious to get back to their jobs at the office. It’s because? Due to the emotional burden they experienced at home (not to mention their lower wages).

In large companies, gender disparities are increasingly widening

After a pandemic scenario where we saw women being highly penalized in companies due to all the burden they were forced to deal with and with reduced salaries, the situation does not seem to improve in other aspects.

Did you know that women represent less than a third of the highest positions in companies? Who says so is the study carried out by the consultancy Informa D&B on “Gender Diversity in companies in Portugal”.

Through this same study, it is possible to perceive the discrepancy that still exists in our country in terms of the occupation of top positions and leadership by women compared to men.

In a statement, the consultant also informed that “Despite the evolution registered in recent years and the fact that women correspond to around 60% of all graduates, their representation in these positions is still far from parity”.

In addition, compared to 2019, there was no evolution of female participation in management positions, management positions and even leadership. It is also important to mention that their participation in positions of this kind is even lower in large companies.

Therefore, it is possible to conclude that women, despite having higher levels of education, represent less than a third of the highest positions in companies. And the truth is that the registered evolution does not seem to lead to parity in the near future.

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